Does God's Word give any clear directives specifically to pray for Israel and the Middle East?
We are not to be blown around by every whimsical wind of doctrine or the latest fad that hits the charismatic shores. We must be grounded in the Word of God. We must be knowledgeable of what the Scriptures have to say on a given matter. God is not impressed with our opinions or our preconceived, prejudicial thinking. God's Word has the authority and the final say!
To know God's heart, we must diligently study God's Word as a prerequisite to being approved as a workman in His vineyard. If we are going to be effective intercessors, we must learn to pray the Word of God.
With that in mind, I am veering away from my typical prophetic teaching article and presenting a short road map giving biblical intercession as you pray for Israel and the Middle East.
Biblical Intercessory Prayers for Israel
From the Life of Moses
- Exodus 32:11-13, 31-32 — Moses' cry to the Lord on behalf of the Israelites is based on God's reputation and covenant, as well as for the sake of His glory.
- Deuteronomy 9:18-19, 25-29 — Moses' fasting for forty days involved intervening for Israel in a time of great crisis.
- Deuteronomy 30:1-10 — This is a proclamation of restoration, as taught to the descendants of Israel in the desert.
- Numbers 14:13-19 — This is a plea for God to demonstrate His power, followed by an intense cry for pardon according to God's great lovingkindness.
From the Life of Nehemiah
- Nehemiah 1:4-11 — This a compassionate plea before God to forgive His people.
From the Life of Solomon
- 1 Kings 8:46-53 — This a simple prayer for God to forgive, now and in the future as He has in the past.
From the Lives of Asaph and the Sons of Korah
- Psalm 44:26 (NASB): "Rise up, be our help, and redeem us!"
- Psalm 74 — An appeal to God amid the devastation of the land by the enemy.
- Psalm 79 — This is a lament over the destruction of Jerusalem and a cry for help.
- Psalm 80:2-3: "Save us!... Restore us!"
- Psalm 83 — This is a prayer for the Lord to confound His enemies.
- Psalm 85 — This is a powerful prayer for God's mercy on the nation.
- Psalm 123:3 (NASB): "Be gracious to us, Lord."
From the Life of Joel
- Joel 1:8, 13-14 — A call for a solemn assembly.
- Joel 2:12-17 — This is an intercessory cry to, "spare Your people, Lord."
From the Life of Isaiah
- Isaiah 58:1 (NASB): "Cry loudly, do not hold back."
- Isaiah 62:1, 6 (NASB): "For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not keep quiet... All day and all night [God's watchmen] will never keep silent."
- Isaiah 63:15-64:12 — This includes a desperate prayer for mercy and help.
From the Life of Jeremiah
- Jeremiah 9:1 (NASB): "I... weep day and night."
- Jeremiah 14:7-9, 17-22 — Verse 7 (NASB) emphasizes, "Lord, act for the sake of Your name! Our apostasies have indeed been many, we have sinned against You."
- Jeremiah 15:5 is a plea amid judgment.
- Lamentations 3:49–50 (NASB): "My eyes flow unceasingly, without stopping, until the Lord looks down and sees from heaven."
- Lamentations 5:21 (NASB): "Restore us to You, Lord, so that we may be restored."
From the Life of Daniel
- Daniel 6:10 — Gives us the example of praying three times each day.
- Daniel 9:19 (NASB): "Lord, hear! Lord, forgive! Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name." Daniel's prayer of confession, on behalf of his people, is our balanced, biblical model to follow today.
Practical Suggestions to Pray for Israel and the Middle East
Perform acts of identifying repentance (identifying for the sins of a nation or the church, whether you have committed them yourself). Cry out to the Lord with brokenness that our Father would forgive us, the church, for our apathy and fear, and for not speaking up and acting with righteousness in past times of history.
Pray for an awakening. Ask the Lord to awaken the global church of Jesus Christ in this hour to the immediacy and urgency of this message. Intercede that the Lord would raise up modern-day Esthers, Josephs, Daniels and Deborahs "for such a time as this."
Pray for protection. Pray for places of safety and refuge to be raised up in anticipation of times of persecution of the Jewish people. Intercede that the enemy's plans would be thwarted and that God's destiny for the Jewish people would be fulfilled in this generation.
Pray for a movement of signs and wonders. Petition the Lord to release an increase of His presence with a movement of signs and wonders. Pray that the blinders would fall off the eyes of the Jewish people, and that they would recognize and receive Jesus Christ as their sovereign Lord.
Prayers for Peace
Use God's favor on you to pray for peace: "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests" (Luke 2:14, NIV).
- The world is full of tribulation but in Him nations can experience peace: "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (see John 16:33, NIV).
- God is peace: "Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace" (see Judg. 6:24, NIV).
- God can heal every relationship — personal and far away, "'creating praise on their lips. Peace, peace, to those far and near,' says the Lord. 'And I will heal them'" (see Isa. 57:19, NIV).
- Israel is a small country amid known and unknown enemies. "But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds . . . because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares" (see Jer. 30:17, NIV).
- If persecution is because of righteousness, God blesses people and places: "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (see Matt. 5:10, NIV).
- Peace in hearts and nations must begin with love: "I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (see Matt. 5:44, NIV).
- Blessings and peace are rewards of praying for those who are deceived: "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse" (see Rom. 12:14, NIV).
- God will judge the nations for their treatment of God's people: "I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will put them on trial for what they did to my inheritance, my people Israel, because they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land" (see Joel 3:2, NIV).
Reasons to Pray for the Middle East
- Daniel prayed for the nations. He understood how prophecy affects politics and vice versa. He studied Scripture to understand how to pray. He meditated and sought prophetic understanding of how prophecy applied to his generation. He compared the biblical promise and timing with the date and conditions in which he lived (see Daniel 9:1–3).
- Daniel took the Scriptures as a mandate to pray for the prophecies to be fulfilled with the expectation that his prayers were part of causing those prophecies to come to pass. The destiny of all the nations is connected spiritually with the restoration of Israel. An understanding of the prophetic significance of events in the Middle East, therefore, should influence the prayers of the saints wherever they live in the world (see Dan. 9:2–3).
- Daniel prayed with humility and repentance — not primarily about his own sins but about the sins of his people. He repents on their behalf as he makes intercession for them (see Isa. 53) and stands in the gap (see Ezek. 22 and Dan. 9:4-6).
- Our prayers can affect the world because God commissions mighty angels to respond to our prayers. The connection between our prayers and the work of angels not only changes history but gives us prophetic revelation and insight into the plans and purposes of God (see Dan. 9:20–23).
Blessings to each of you as you continue your own personal journey as an effective watchman in the perilous days in which we live. May the Holy Spirit guide and direct your reading and praying of the Word of God.